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Old 07-05-2011, 09:24 AM   #31
SunnieRN
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Originally Posted by cbg1027 View Post
After my disappointing snack at The Mara, I headed over to Epcot and hit Mission:Space Orange and Test Track (yay for single rider lines!) before decided I was hungry enough to start venturing over to the Italy Pavilion.

I wasn't able to get an ADR at a time I wanted since my trip plans changed so last minute. DBF can't eat tomatoes, so he wasn't very interested in VN. The second I knew he wasn't coming on the trip, I changed my ADR's around, but couldn't find a decent time for VN. I decided to chance a walk-up since those are usually more feasible as a party of one.

I checked in at 6:30 and was told they could seat me shortly. I waited about ten minutes and then was shown to a table.

The inside of VN is cavernous and thus somewhat loud, but it had very pretty architecture and decor.

The views from my seat:


Mmmm wood-fired pizzas ovens. If only I could have one of those in my kitchen...




I noticed that 99% of the CMs in VN are CUTIES! Add in the Italian accent and ...well, maybe it was good my DBF didn't join me!

The cutie helping me that day was Luca. He was very friendly and efficient. He didn't forget about me even though he had a large party of 10 at one table in his section.

I decided to try one of VN's specialty drinks - an Acqua Fresca. It's a non-alcoholic mix of water and fruit juices. I went with the Blood Orange flavor, and they also have Lemon and Strawberrry.

There is a bread basket and olive oil brought to all tables. The bread was just ok...tasted like mediocre 'Italian' bread from the supermarket.



The bread was boring, but the Acqua Fresca was amazing! So light, refreshing, fruity, and not too sweet. It was a really great drink for a summer day in Florida. I had to pace myself from gulping it down since they're $5 a pop!

I knew what I wanted to order since I first read the VN menu - a Margherita Pizza! I got the individual size of course:


Your basic pizza with tomatoes, cheese and basil. The original, can't go wrong classic! Before I tell you how it was, I need to provide you with a disclaimer: I am a pizza aficionado. I have eaten pizza all over Italy, and more importantly in Naples at Pizzeria Da Michele, which is widely regarded as THE place for pizza in the city where pizza was born. My standards are very high and I'm not easy to please. I went through a six month period after my return from Italy where I didn't even eat pizza because there is no Italian style pizza in my hometown and everything else wasn't going to satisfy my cravings.

I also believe that you can't compare apples to oranges. I think there are four types of pizza and it's unfair to compare different types and proclaim one better than the other when the pizza makers are going for different products.
Abby's Four Main Pizza Types:
American - basically your delivery chains like Pizza Hut, Dominos, Little Ceasars, etc.
NYC - The NY style thin crust that you can buy by the slice at countless places in the Northeast.
Chicago - Chicago Deep Dish
Italian - my personal favorite. Thin crust, crushed tomatoes (not sauce), fresh mozzerella, and MUST come from a wood or coal fired oven.

So Via Napoli falls in to the Italian category. I read that one the developers even studied at Pizzeria Da Michele in Naples in order to make the best replication of true Napoli style pizza. So my expectations were high, as were my hopes. It's hard to find a place that makes Italian style pizza, so knowing I could possibly get it four hours away in WDW, where I go 2-3 times per year was really making me excited.
So....after my treastie on pizza here...what did I think?
Drumroll please......

Abby doesn't have to go across the Atlantic to satisfy her Italian Pizza cravings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If Da Michele's pies are 10, I'm giving VN an 8. The crust was thin, tasted 85% the same as Da Michele's, the crushed tomatoes were light and had that special bright flavor summer flavor, and the cheese was fresh mozzerella, sprinkled lightly over the pizza, not drowning the entire thing. Finished off with some torn fresh basil and we have a pretty authentic product. Surprising for WDW and Epcot, where I don't expect authenticity in the ethnic foods. My only critique would be that the crust wasn't quite as crisped as it should be. I knew something was a bit off, and it wasn't until I came home and did some reading here on the boards that I realized the doneness was the slight issue I had.

Apparently most of the customers have been complaining about the black charring on the crust, so they haven't been cooking the pizza quite as well done as it should be. I think a few more minutes in the oven would have moved this pizza to a 9. But now I know for next time to ask for it well done!

So for any poor reviews of VN, I think the issue is expectations, not the product itself. Most people probably have never had, nor are they aware of what Italian style pizza is. So they are comparing VN to something else like a NYC style slice, and as I said, I think that's an unfair apples to oranges issue.

Which makes me slightly worried about VN's success in Disney. Authentic doesn't usually bring in the crowds at Disney, people seem to want the Americanized versions of things. However, the restaurant was busy when I went, and from all reports I've read, it seems to have been this way since they opened around 10 months ago.

Do yourself a favor and get some pizza from VN on your next visit!

Grade: A
Thank you for pointing me toward yourreview!! I am now hooked on your dining report!!

This is imho only, but, I must say that the Mara is actually one of my favorite places to eat counter service. I love the stew in a bread bowl they offer, and many nights I would have the butternut squash soup, which is absolutely WONDERFUL and just pick off of a few leftovers for dinner or lunch. I found their menu limited, but not nearly as much so as Saratoga Springs or Wilderness Lodge counter service locations. I also liked the uniqueness of the menu. I liked that they were really accomodating to my grandsons allergies. If you are hungry, try the chicken and cous cous plate. They offer it hot or cold and I liked it cold better. I am SO hungry now, between thinking of soup and your pizza review!! Thanks!!

Love your report so far and looking forward to more. Oh yes, Mara also has zebra domes for dessert in their cool case, if anyone likes those. I'm not a fan, but my daughter and grandsons love them.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:32 PM   #32
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Thank you for pointing me toward yourreview!! I am now hooked on your dining report!!

This is imho only, but, I must say that the Mara is actually one of my favorite places to eat counter service. I love the stew in a bread bowl they offer, and many nights I would have the butternut squash soup, which is absolutely WONDERFUL and just pick off of a few leftovers for dinner or lunch. I found their menu limited, but not nearly as much so as Saratoga Springs or Wilderness Lodge counter service locations. I also liked the uniqueness of the menu. I liked that they were really accomodating to my grandsons allergies. If you are hungry, try the chicken and cous cous plate. They offer it hot or cold and I liked it cold better. I am SO hungry now, between thinking of soup and your pizza review!! Thanks!!

Love your report so far and looking forward to more. Oh yes, Mara also has zebra domes for dessert in their cool case, if anyone likes those. I'm not a fan, but my daughter and grandsons love them.
Aw thanks! No problem!

I will be the first to admit that I didn't get to sample what looks like The Mara's better offerings. Poor choices on my part I suppose. I'd like to try to Falafel and soups one day, but I'm not usually around the resort at lunchtime and eat at a TS for dinner.

I'm not a Zebra Domes fan either. I tried them at Boma once and didn't care for them, probably because I'm not a big fan of white chocolate.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:43 AM   #33
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Loved your VN review. As someone who is partial to NY Style (or honestly since I am from Boston, I refer to it as Boston style, hahaha) pizza, do you know of anywhere in WDW that serves it? It seems everything is either crappy pre-made, disgusting crust or it's Italian style.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:48 AM   #34
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After I read your review of VN I went home and read my new issue of Rachael Ray and Andrew Zimmern wrote an article about Disney. He said that he ate at VN and he was a "pizza snob". He gave it a thumbs up as well! I think I really have to eat there!
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:17 PM   #35
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Awesome review! I cannot wait to go to VN! One Margherita pizza for me and a kids meal for DD! Thank you so much for the awesome pics!
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:59 PM   #36
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Yea for solo dining. I had a few a days at WDW alone in Nov and it was bliss. I even went to Narccossees alone, even though my DH who is the AF called me from Japan and stayed on with me most of the meal The pizza looks and sounds devine at VN!
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:49 PM   #37
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Subbing in! I completely agree there are four main pizzas types Can't wait to try VN next time I'm there
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:50 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandLMommy28 View Post
Loved your VN review. As someone who is partial to NY Style (or honestly since I am from Boston, I refer to it as Boston style, hahaha) pizza, do you know of anywhere in WDW that serves it? It seems everything is either crappy pre-made, disgusting crust or it's Italian style.
I'm not sure I'd call it NY (or Boston) style, but Wolfgang Puck Express in DTD has really good pizza. It's some sort of fusion between American, Italian, and NY style. They use good quality ingredients and have a wood burning oven, so it's delicious.
There's a photo of one in my Solo Eats and Newbie Treats Review.

Other than that, every place I've come across (CS, resort pizza delivery, other restaurants) all have the icky Disney pizza.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracerr00 View Post
After I read your review of VN I went home and read my new issue of Rachael Ray and Andrew Zimmern wrote an article about Disney. He said that he ate at VN and he was a "pizza snob". He gave it a thumbs up as well! I think I really have to eat there!
I love Zimmern! Good to know he liked it. I went to one of his Food and Wine Festival demos in 2009, I'm hoping to get in to again this year!

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Originally Posted by bigal'sdaughter View Post
Awesome review! I cannot wait to go to VN! One Margherita pizza for me and a kids meal for DD! Thank you so much for the awesome pics!
Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vettegirl View Post
Yea for solo dining. I had a few a days at WDW alone in Nov and it was bliss. I even went to Narccossees alone, even though my DH who is the AF called me from Japan and stayed on with me most of the meal The pizza looks and sounds devine at VN!
Solo trips are fun, and the dining is nice and relaxing too!

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Subbing in! I completely agree there are four main pizzas types Can't wait to try VN next time I'm there
Happy to have you along!
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:50 AM   #39
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Breakfast at The Mara

I woke up bright and early so I could get to DHS for RD and join the TSM stampede (I was the 5th person on!).

I was down at The Mara by 7:10 and was happy to find it quite empty, owing to the early hour though I'm guessing.

I was hoping to find better offerings at a Deluxe resorts CS than I find at the values. The selection was much smaller, but I can certainly understand that since the facility is significantly reduced as well.

I usually start my day off with something really light, but in Disney I try to eat protein at breakfast since I'm so much more active there.

So I had my eye on a breakfast platter that includes eggs, potatoes, a biscuit and bacon for $6.79. Then I see the 'Bounty Platter' for $8.29. So what's the difference? The Bounty includes one of those amazing little things we call a mini Mickey waffle (and a sausage link, but who cares when you have a Mickey Waffle?)

So I got the Bounty Platter and an OJ:


The Mickey Waffle was amazing as always - fluffy, sweet, and more Belgian style than Eggo. I can't get enough of these things!
The eggs were scrambled, and actually quite good, I'm guessing because they probably hadn't been sitting in a warming pan for who knows how long.
The Bacon was standard Disney bacon....inedible, tough, and plastic-y in other words. I didn't eat more than taste of that.
Sausage link was just meh, nothing bad, nothing good. Left that alone after one bite.
The biscuit was decent enough, but nothing special. A little too crumbly for my tastes, but not over dried.
The potatoes were just ok. I'd like them to be crispy on the outside, but I never seem to get that kind at a CS, only from the TS breakfasts.

The OJ was Minute Maid - it does the job, but I wish Disney would use a different supplier and get some not from concentrate OJ. Although since Minute Maid is a Coke product, I guess I'd rather stick with my Coke and bad OJ than risk them going to Pepsi and good OJ since I have more Coke than OJ while at Disney!

So breakfast at The Mara was better than my snack. I'm moving the grade up to a C.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:02 AM   #40
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mmmm early morning pics of mickey waffles! what a great way to start my day!
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:28 PM   #41
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Great review of Via Napoli! I don't go there anymore, since I can take the train into NYC and go to their sister restaurant (Naples 45) if I want something very similar to Via Napoli. But I definitely love that pizza!

I'm looking forward to your Citricos review.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:32 PM   #42
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I am loving your reviews!!
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:50 PM   #43
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Your breakfast at The Mara, looks just like my breakfast I had at the GF quick service back in November. It was a lot of food for me to finish. I actually was leaving that day so I took the Mickey waffle back to Texas with me and had it the next day
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:35 AM   #44
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Of course you had to go with the bounty platter once you realised it included a mini Mickey waffle!

Am glad Mara got moved up after the rocky start.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:30 PM   #45
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Hey girlfriend!!! Signing on a bit late.
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